disposable things…disposable society

I was pretty bummed today about my one mistake- the paper towel. It’s amazing how many paper towels, napkins, etc. we use. As I told you guys in class, because I’ve become aware of this over my years doing this project, I literally hid the paper towels in the house, so I wouldn’t use them. As I’m trying so hard to make a local lunch with no waste, I go to my paper towel holder, and, without even thinking, I tear off a sheet. As soon as I do I realize my mistake, and I’m heartbroken. I can’t believe the paper towels are there- even after I tried to hide them. And I can’t believe how hard it is to break habits, especially, habits that deal with disposal. 

Just think about how much we dispose of on a daily basis. Yesterday, I saw a student in our class throw away a plastic bottle…meaning, even during our project it is hard to manage our habits. I’ve also seen many students with coffee cups from Slayter. Sure, we tell ourselves that it is fine because they are compostable….but wouldn’t it be less impact to just reuse a cup we already own? But we’re so used to disposing of things that it is almost beyond questioning at this point. We’re at a point where not to dispose of something and reusing becomes the oddity. 

I’m starting to wonder if this permeates into other areas of life?  For instance, we make friends so easily on Facebook….and we can also quickly dispose of friends on Facebook. Have we become so used to disposing of things that it affects how we treat and value people or relationships? Do we start to see only the immediate value of something without considering it’s long term value? I hope not, but I’m not 100% sure. 

In Sustainability and the Apocalypse, one of the common themes in books is the slow, but eventual disregard for human life. I worry that we are not taking the time to see the value of things….and, by some extension, of people and relationships. Perhaps, along with ho-hum, we should be taking time to see the value of things before we quickly dispose of them…where did they come from, what went into them, where are they going?


One Comment

  1. It’s so easy to pick up a napkin or paper towel without thinking, especially within the confines of your home or Denisons campus because the stuff is literally everywhere. In almost every room on campus their is some form of paper to use for cleaning. Just today I spilt some water in my common room and without even hesitating I took some paper towel to clean it up. I was very disappointed with myself. But, instead of throwing it out I hung it up to dry in order to be used for the next spillage.

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